17 killed in US plane crash

By Xinhua,

Washington : A small passenger plane crashed Sunday afternoon in the western US state of Montana, killing an estimated 17 people including a number of children, federal officials said.

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Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) spokesman Mike Fergus told reporters that preliminary reports indicate many of the victims are children.

“We think that it was probably a ski trip for the kids,” Fergus said.

The single-engine propeller plane was traveling from Oroville, California to Bozeman in Montana before it crashed into Holy Cross cemetery, he said.

Fergus said the pilot had filed a flight plan showing a final destination of Bozeman, but he had canceled his flight plan at some point and headed for Butte.

The plane crashed about 150 meters from the airport while attempting to land and caught fire.

There were no known fatalities on the ground.

An eyewitness to the crash told the Montana Standard newspaper that the plane was doing steep angle turns and then went into a nose dive.

“All of a sudden the pilot lost control and went into a nose dive,” said Kenny Gulick. “He couldn’t pull out in time and crashed into the trees of the cemetery.”